Having already worked with people like Flight Facilities and Flume, recent Future Classic addition George Maple made a solo step into the world last year with her Vacant Space EP. The sound is one of future-facing post-R&B flavours, aching R&B-esque vocals mixed with something more alternative and indescribable: a potential pop diva encased in cold, minimalist electronic music. There are others making this sort of experimental soulful music, encompassing similar elements but never sounding the same.

So it's with even more adoration that we introduce the Sydney-based Jessica Higgs, aka George Maple, emerging out of this simultaneously burgeoning and gradually saturated half-genre as a pretty big deal. Kindly she was able to meet us for a few photos and provide some in-depth answers to a few questions that we sent her via email at the end of last year.

Hello George Maple! How are you?

I'm really well thanks!


So, your debut EP Vacant Space was released 1st December. How has that all been for you?

I'm just so glad that it's out in the world. I wrote those songs across such a long period of time and they were ready for a while before we released the EP. There's about 18 months between the first and the last song. They were written when I was living out of a suitcase, travelling between Australia, USA and the UK. There is a lot of my life/ headspace/ thoughts in that EP so it's nice to let it go and for it to be in the hands of the listener now. I like that process… it's like the recordings take a new life. It's funny because I was so terrified of being so exposed at the beginning of this project and now I really enjoy the idea of people having full access to my thoughts.

A lot of people say that the alternative/electronic R&B sound is the future of music. Is that vibe something you'd want to stick with?
[Laughs] Is that what they're saying? That's great... I mean I never consciously meant for George Maple to be an alternative R&B project, I think I just wrote what came naturally and focused on building new sonic spaces for the songs I wrote. I think I must have listened to a lot of R&B and soul music when I was younger. That's the kind of pop music I like. I still like. I have never really connected with the current form of commercial pop writing so I never listen to it. I always feel like people are yelling at me through the radio. I like a bit of swag and soul in a melody. I feel R&B melodies manage to walk a magical line. They are still easy to digest and sing along to but they sparkle. They have soul to them that I feel a lot of other commercial pop lacks. that's my opinion anyway.


Are vocals your strongpoint or do you dabble with other elements of music? Just wondering!

I started off writing songs at the piano. I learned Suzuki method piano from a really early age. Suzuki method means you learn songs by listening to them and repeating what you hear. I never enjoyed reading music. My teacher would try and encourage me to read the music. I just didn't like it. I liked listening, improvising and creating something new. It's so funny because I look at the way I write now and it's so similar. I rarely reference anything or listen to too much other music, I just enjoy the excitement of developing something from nothing. I think learning music by ear helped with my vocal development. It helped train my ear and refine my intuition. It's so funny that a lot of being a musical artist is based on your intuition and instinct. I always worry that mine will have an off day. I'm sure it will happen eventually.

When I was out of school I started working in dance music and writing more electronic based tracks. I'd send my manager demos and she'd ask who was producing the tracks... I didn't think of it as production at the time. I thought I was just writing, but apparently I was producing. She encouraged me to continue producing my own demos and focus on understanding the production process. I don't physically engineer the tracks, but I choose the people who I want to finish the tracks and whose skills I feel will work best on the track and I work with them to finish it. I am across every single layer.


How and when did you get on board with Future Classic? That must've been pretty cool to find out!

Yeah, it was all pretty casual really. I've been friends with all the guys for years. I saw Nathan, who runs the label at Field Day in Australia and we started chatting about what I was up to and what I was working on. I'd been really hesitant to sign to any label because I was afraid of losing creative control. I also felt it was really important for me to sign when I felt my creative vision was in a more fully formed place. The timing was perfect. Future Classic offer more of a creative partnership rather than a confining label environment. They help facilitate my needs and vision and provide great input and ideas into the project. We work as a team.

You've worked quite a bit with Flume, did you guys meet through the label or were you already friendly?

I actually heard the first Flume release about 5 years ago when I was driving back from a rehearsal. 'Sleepless' was playing on Triple J. I found him on google a few hours later and it turned out Nathan from Future Classic managed him. At the time Harley had about 1000 fans on Facebook I was working with Future Classic already as I'd helped write the 'Foreign Language' record with Flight Facilities. I called Nathan and asked him to set something up. It kind of evolved from there. The more we work together and hang out as friends, the better the music seems to be.


Who'd be another dream producer you'd love to work with right now?

Mmm… I'm pretty lucky with who I've been able to work with so far. I love everyone I've worked with. I think the only other people on my hit list would be Kanye, Fly-Lo, Mr Carmack and Jon Hopkins.

What's next for you, more music, or touring, or just enjoying a break?

I'm laying here in bed recovering from Holy Ship actually. I decided to join some friends at the last minute and I think i ended up with the 'ship flu' but it was totally worth it though. 2015 is going to be fun.

George Maple on Facebook / Soundcloud / Twitter

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